Southbound motorists on the Sydney Harbour Bridge will notice changes to their journeys following the completion tomorrow of the southern toll plaza precinct upgrade.
The 15-month project, with a budget of $60 million – which included the removal of the tollbooths at the city end and the upgrade of the southern end of the bridge – was undertaken to simplify traffic movements from the Western Distributor and northern Sydney CBD.
The Roads Minister Melinda Pavey told the Sydney Morning Herald the upgrade had been a "very difficult project" because of the major traffic demands on the bridge, but she believes it will result in a "smoother journey" and reduce the risk of accidents.
To achieve that, the lanes of the bridge will be renumbered, which will have an impact on vehicles heading south into the city from the bridge. The key change is for motorists heading to City North – York and Grosvenor Streets – in the “morning peak” between six and ten o'clock.
The lanes on the Harbour Bridge are numbered from right to left as you're driving towards the city. Drivers going to City North and York Street should use the far right lane (lane four) during the morning peak. Lanes four and five should be taken if you're going to Grosvenor Street.
If you're taking the Western Distributor, use lanes five and six, rather than the far right-hand lanes you've always used.
Maybe you should jump on a bus. The upgrade includes the continuation of the bus lane from the bridge to York Street (as well as “bus readiness bays” for buses approaching York Street in the "afternoon peak"). It's hoped this will open up a smooth route directly to Wynyard.
The final traffic arrangement will be in place by the morning of Saturday March 3. Final, smaller works will be done up until March 5.
The Harbour Bridge is one of Sydney’s busiest roadways, with about 160,000 cars and 3000 buses passing over the bridge each day.